Dec 21, 2010
Ironically, I originally started this blog as a pregnancy blog when I became pregnant after our 2nd IUI. Stupidly optimistic, I thought the blog would be a great outlet for sharing our pregnancy with friends and family back in North America since we live abroad, officially catapulting myself head-first into the land of happy-go-lucky attention whoring Moms-to-be that we all love to despise. Long before we began to share news of our pregnancy or I went public with Journey to Baby G - The Puppies and Rainbows Version, we found out our baby had no heartbeat at our 7.5 week ultrasound.
After the loss, I felt a strong need to both write about my experiences for myself and to interact with others also grappling with infertility and pregnancy loss. This blog has obviously turned out much differently from what I originally intended, but I suppose our story also has ended up much differently than I had hoped just a few months ago. Already, I have benefited so much from being a part of this online community and I am daily humbled by the strength, grace, resilience and intelligence of the other women that populate it.
Currently, we are in the midst of our 3rd Clomid/IUI cycle. I was diagnosed with lean PCOS a few months ago, a diagnosis that was very surprising to me, since I definitely don't fit the classic PCOS picture. I am surprised by how different trying to conceive feels since the loss - perhaps because the loss is so recent.
On one hand, I am still shocked that we got pregnant at all to begin with. On the other hand, I am terrified that I will keep losing babies every time I get pregnant or that I won't get pregnant again. It seems like we keep falling on the wrong side of the statistics, so it is hard to have faith that one of these months it will finally be different. While I am excited to be back in the game, it is even harder to imagine myself pregnant with a healthy pregnancy and like everyone else, I hate not knowing how much pain it will take to get there or even if we will get there.
When we aren't obsessing over our future offspring, I bide my time in a research lab and Y operates on peoples' eyes with hands infinitely more coordinated and steady than my own.
Dec 18, 2010
I know I stared for too long...inappropriately long. I've started staring at babies for longer than I think is really socially acceptable. At first I didn't notice that I had been doing it, but I am pretty sure you're not supposed to stare longingly like that. Anyway, then I suddenly remembered what I had been dreaming about. The fact that seeing this baby jogged my memory sort of creeped me out.
In my dream, I was with Y and for some reason we just happened to be at the hospital together waiting for something. We saw this baby boy, not an infant, maybe about a year old. Someone then explained to us that he had some terrible medical condition (maybe a social worker maybe a nurse...unclear). They told us that he was abandoned and that his parents didn't want him. The weird thing is, as far as I can remember in the dream, there was no formal adoption process. I just told Y that I wanted him so we took him home and he was ours. We became parents as simple as that - just a morning outing spent in a hospital waiting room:-/
The only conclusion I can come to is that I have some latent subconscious urge to take off with an unwanted child. I think it takes a special kind of crazy to have those kind of dreams (not the kind of happy-go-lucky, frilly pink dreams where you're pushing a healthy, beautiful baby in a stroller who got there by virtue of your uterus).
The only other baby-related dream I've had that competes in craziness is the one I had the night after we found out we were pregnant in October. In our dream, we were having our first ultrasound and the RE said quite matter-of-factly "The good news is that you have eight embryos implanted. The bad news is that none of them are viable as far as I can tell." Only my dreams reveal how truly crazy I am. In other news, CD1 surprised me out of nowhere on Thursday (I hadn't ovulated and was on CD32), so looks like we're back in the game. If all goes to plan, this cycle will be IUI #3. Tomorrow I go in for my CD3 (really CD4) bloodwork.
Dec 7, 2010
Perhaps my fascination with the other people in the waiting room stems partially from having never met any other IFers in real life (I am sure that we know couples we are struggling with IF, but none who have discussed it openly with us). I always wonder why the other women are there, what treatment they are doing, how long they've been trying, etc. I also tend to jump to conclusions about their story based on their attitude (some women come in grinning from ear to ear, others are crying, some are visibly worried or annoyed etc.).
At the ultrasound clinic, most of the women are visibly pregnant, there with spouses, and generally happy and excited, so it is easy to guess what their story must be. At the same time, you see plenty of women who aren't visibly pregnant and/or who appear nervous, worried, or sad. I bet that as an ob/gyn ultrasound technician you get to deliver mostly good news and spend most of your days among couples who are happy and excited, but that you also see your share of awful tragedy as well.
I have always found it interesting that those of us who occupy the fertility clinic waiting room often suffer so much alone in silence and use the internet to find comraderie and other women like ourselves and yet, we spend so much time physically among our own ranks in the waiting room, but do not speak a word. I am not saying that I wish people did speak to each other in the waiting room. In fact, I have pretty ambivalent feelings about being approached by anyone in that setting. Frankly, as nosy (and perhaps hypocritical) as I am, I enjoy my privacy and would rather not be questioned by strangers when I am feeling so anxious and vulnerable. I just think the dynamic is interesting. So, am I the only one who is so helplessly curious and nosy about all those other women in the waiting room or are you sizing me up, too? :)
Dec 2, 2010
The good news is that the miscarriage is complete - both the ultrasound and exam confirmed this. I never thought I would be so relieved by the sight of an empty uterus. I just stopped spotting 2 days ago, so now we wait patiently until AF arrives. The plan is then to do another Clomid/IUI cycle, since that's what worked last time. We'll also repeat CD3 b/w, as well as testosterone and DHEAS. Also, I was clearly a little upset, both by discussing the miscarriage and by the hard time the receptionists gave me, but Prof. L. was super reassuring as usual, and encouraged me to call him directly on his cell phone to keep him posted or with any problems.
Crazy IF thought of the day while observing the throngs of new moms with over-priced strollers bedecked with over-priced accessories during my visit to the Mother & Child Center for my ultrasound: If I'm not pregnant by this time next year, I'm buying Harriet [the cat] a Bugaboo frog for Chanukah...with a little parasol.
In other news, I have a nasty cold with fever and left work early. Really, it's just an annoyance, but I still feel like crap.
Nov 22, 2010
What has shocked me the most about our loss is how unshocking losing this pregnancy was, despite the fact that everything was going so well until it wasn't. I remember when I was little, whenever something I deemed to be very important occurred, I divided my life into the before and after based around that single event. Inevitably, I would find the after incredibly depressing - the let-down after a big trip or significant event and all of the anticipation that led up to it.
When I first became pregnant and then later when we learned that our baby didn't have a heartbeat, I came to believe that these events would be the same - defining points against which everything that followed would be subsequently measured - separations differentiating the old before from the new after. Perhaps if my pregnancy had been healthy and marked the beginning of the life of a child we brought into this world alive and into our arms, this would have been true. Instead, I have found it surprising that the loss hasn't really felt like a defining point at all.
Perhaps it's because I spent so long hoping and praying to be pregnant and comparatively so little time actually pregnant (just shy of 8 weeks when I was admitted to the hospital for Cytotec), but the pregnancy itself feels like a strange but hopeful dream I had for 10 minutes one night. Now that its been a week since the miscarriage, nothing about the pregnancy feels real anymore. More accurately, I've been asking myself, did it ever feel real?
Not really. In fact, the whole time I was pregnant, I felt like an impostor. Part of me could never actually believe it was true or that it finally happened. I kept repeating over and over again to myself, to Y, to anyone who knew and would listen, really, that it was too good to be true.
Sure, I clumsily stumbled through all the motions of being pregnant. I was starving for lunch every day at 10:30am and ready to go to sleep at 7. My breasts increased a full cup size and I finally worked up the courage to buy a copy of The Book - What to Expect When You're Expecting, which lay splayed open proudly on the couch, not tucked away in a drawer like infertility books. I ordered cooked salmon maki and veggie rolls at sushi and sipped Cokes and Shirley Temples at our friends' wedding. I turned down wine, quit coffee cold turkey, and when the bloat made it impossible to comfortably wear jeans, invested in 2 pairs of elasticized maternity pants. I secretly enjoyed it when people would stare down at my protuding little belly (in reality more bloat than bump) and wonder.
On the outside, I acted like someone who believed she would have a take-home baby and yet on the inside, I was just an opportunist - a little kid version of myself who wanted to take full advantage of this longed-for virtual reality experience before school was back in session.
That's because in reality, I felt like a nine-year-old girl who wants to be an astronaut when she grows up more than anything else in the world. Finally, she gets to go to space camp. She is delighted and squealing with excitement- how lucky she is to get such an authentic experience! But even as a young girl, she still knows in the back of her head that this is just make-believe, a token or morsel of her real dream. This is all a high-tech stimulation - she has yet to see the moon.
And so, ultimately, my brush with pregnancy amounted to a few weeks at space camp. In the end, the only moment of my pregnancy that stands out in my mind as being real was lying on the crinkly paper of that ultrasound table with three technicians and one doctor crowded around me, nodding and talking to each other about the body on the table and the image of a womb on a screen, not a single word uttered to me.
That's when I knew that my time at space camp was through. Catapulted back to the reality of Earth, I was no longer an astronaut or mom-to-be, but an infertile finally pregnant, but with a baby without a heartbeat. All of those prayers and wishes and dreams for that miraculous ball of cells, that splendid little life growing inside me, slipping further and further from my reach, like so many dreams of outer space or Orion descending. I am here in Jerusalem, Israel, Planet Earth. I am 238857 miles from the moon.
Nov 21, 2010
Nov 16, 2010
Nov 12, 2010
The spotting seems to have stopped and I still feel pregnant, so now we are just hoping and praying for the best. Today I am 7 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Baby G is now the size of a blueberry (about half an inch long -- twice the size of last week!). Baby G is growing hands and feet. The only thing shrinking is Baby G's tail -- yup, embryos have a tail, which is an extension of the tailbone and decreases in size until it disappears. Baby G's brain is growing and its liver is making red blood cells. Baby G is now connected to me through an umbilical cord. I am sending lots of good vibes to our blueberry for lots of continued growth!
Here is a bump pic from yesterday at 7w0d. So far, I think the only thing increasing in size are my breasts (anything else is just bloat), but it will be fun to chronicle the progression to a real bump.
Nov 9, 2010
A couple of days ago I noticed a tiny bit of dark brown CM. It freaked me out a little but it was such a tiny bit I didn't dwell on it and almost forgot about it. Fast forward to today and I have seen brown-streaked CM every time I've gone to the bathroom (you can thank me now for all of the graphic detail). The only other time I have seen this happen is a couple days before AF. All I can think of now is that I knew being pregnant was way too good to be true.
I am supposed to have an u/s on Sunday (7w3d) to confirm a heartbeat, but I know I could probably go in tomorrow if I want. The truth is, I think I am more scared of having an u/s and finding out "the truth" and the anxiety leading up to it than I am to just wait it out and let nature take its course until my original appointment on Sunday.
I have just been resting in bed for the past few hours since I got home from work. Harriet, ever needy for affection, is keeping me company and enjoying lots of her favorite behind-the-ear rubs. I hate being in limbo and I am really scared. If I am going to miscarry, I just want it to happen already, but I pray that we get to keep our baby.
Nov 7, 2010
Today I am 6w3d. Last Monday I had my 3rd beta draw at 25 dpiui (5w4d). My hcg level was 3567, up from 279 at 18 dpiui, so thankfully my numbers were doubling nicely. We also saw Prof. L that same afternoon. He answered many of our remaining questions about lean PCOS, PCOS and miscarriages, and my over-response to the Clomid last treatment cycle. He did do an u/s, though he warned us that there would likely not be much to see. All we could really see was a small gestational sac, but it did give us peace of mind that at least Baby G implanted in my uterus. Also, we only saw one sac, so while we can't quite yet rule out multiples, all indications point towards a singleton pregnancy.
Prof. L told us that our chances of an early miscarriage are 15%, compared to the normal 10% (50% higher than average), but if we are able to detect a fetal heartbeat, the chance will decrease to ~7% and will again further decrease to 3% at 12 weeks. I am still so scared but at the same time so hopeful, too. When I was struggling to get pregnant, it was difficult to think beyond the excitement and thrill of some time getting a BFP. Now that I am there, I haven't really experienced the ecstacy I imagined because I am so frightened to lose the little life growing inside me. I am so scared of waking up one day soon to "game over" and having to go back to square one with the dreaded fertility treatments.
Everything about this process has been so hard and uncertain until now, it is difficult to imagine that anything could proceed smoothly without lots of emotional pain. In short, after a lot of disappointment, finally being pregnant just feels too good to be true. I am just trying to remember, that even if our odds ARE worse than the average couple, the odds are still in our favor that this pregnancy will continue and we will get our Baby G at the end of it all.
This weekend I had some serious stomach issues. We went up to the Golan for Shabbat and I was scared I was going to not make it during the 3 hour car ride. Thankfully, Y picked up some Zofran before we started our trip and things got much better for me. Since then I have felt much, much better.
Our next u/s will be next Sunday (exactly a week from today) at 7w3d. Unfortunately, Y won't be able to join me because the appointment will be in the middle of the day, the only appointment time we could get. We have another u/s at 9w0d, and then assuming all is well until that point, the next time I will see Prof. L is at 10w0d. I pray that I will get to see our baby's strong and perfect heartbeat next Sunday, the most beautiful image I can possibly imagine.
Oct 25, 2010
Next week we have an appointment with our RE, Prof. L. I am also hoping we will soon get our first peek of Baby G by u/s in the next couple of weeks. When I had my last u/s 4 days ago, the technician told me that once my beta level reaches 1000, we should be able to see something. So cool. Since we had a lot of follicles, I am also extremely anxious to see whether there is more than one baby in there (that would be Babies G!).
Oct 24, 2010
This month, 11 dpIUI happened to be our wedding anniversary. Like the masochistic moron that I am, I decided that there was no better way to kick off our anniversary celebration than to POAS and get the requisite BFN. With that out of the way, I spent the rest of the day sulking. We had NINE freaking follicles (3-4 of which were mature, we weren't going for an Octomom thing here), I triggered with hCG at just the right time, and the timing of our IUI was perfect--if I couldn't get pregnant with that, I am completely helpless, I thought. In fact, I was feeling so despondent I seriously considered asking Y if we could push off our anniversary dinner. In the end, I sucked it up and we went out and had a wonderful evening during which I drank WAY too much wine for a pregnant woman (but how could I have known? :)
As soon as we left the restaurant and started walking back to the car I started to feel terrible. I was crampy, sweaty, clammy, and to be fully honest, either about to vomit or get the runs--which one was unclear. As I lay scrunched up in fetal position in bed on the eve of our anniversary I was feeling pretty full of self-pity. "I have a stomach virus and killer PMS," I thought. Awesome. The next day I felt no better.
The following morning, when I was still feeling like crap and AF had stayed away, I could resist no longer. MUST PEE ON STICK. Too bad I was donating my last FRER from my "American" stash to the cause and would have none left for later. The test generated a true curiosity: a faint faint hint of a faint faint hint of a second line barely visible to the human eye. Y confirmed that he saw what I saw, he also confirmed that as far as he was concerned it was a 100% completely positively negative pregnancy test.
Can you see it? Probably not unless you use your imagination.
The next day, 14dpIUI, AF had still not shown and my temp was still high. This was just getting curioser and curioser to a seasoned TTC sleuth like myself. Out of stock of FRERs but not defeated, I peed on the most sensitive and expensive Israeli stick I could find, the "Yes or No Professional" test. Behold, there was a very faint but undeniably present second line. I had imagined this moment so long--I can't say I reacted quite as dramatically as I had envisioned it. My hands got all shaky holding the pee stick and I said in a high-pitched voice, as if I was posing a sensitive and uncomfortable question, "Y, I think I'm pregnant?" My naysayer husband even agreed it was true, this was a positive pregnancy test.
That's a bit more like it. I think this picture makes it look lighter than it was:-/
Next, I headed to the fertility clinic, where I had my first beta drawn to confirm the pregnancy and an ultrasound to make sure my ovaries weren't overstimulated from the fertility drugs. My first beta came back on the lower side of normal for 14dpIUI at 42. Tomorrow, I head back for my second beta--the indication that things are going well will be to see a clear doubling pattern every 48 hours. Today, I am 4 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Based on the date of my IUI, our EDD is 6/30/11. Baby G is just the size of a poppy seed! Still, lots of action and growing is going on. The amniotic cavity and the placenta are forming. Baby G is transforming from a miraculous little ball of cells (the blastocyst) to an embryo with three different layers that will soon start differentiating into organs.
I have been so wracked with fear. Just to have reached this point feels like a miracle, after many months of waiting and hoping and praying. Despite my fears, I am trying to be positive. I believe in my heart that this will be our sticky, healthy, take-home baby, and for now that faith will have to be enough. Today-17 dpIUI - 'pregnant' popped up quickly (POAS note: got
a CBE digital 2-pack in America only for the purpose of seeing
'pregnant' appear once I already knew I was pregnant:)